(Getting) Fit(ter) to Run

Various circumstances conspired to keep me away from F2R last week, although I did get in a 3.5 mile run Tuesday morning.  This week I made it to class both Tuesday and Thursday.

Tuesday was 1 mile chip trail warm up, followed by a loop of Campus Drive/Bowdoin/Stanford Ave/El Camino Real/Galvez (3.15 mi) followed by 4×100’s.  I was running late and didn’t bring a watch, though, so I don’t know the pace.  I ran at what felt like a brisk tempo.

Today was essentially 5 x 1 mile.  We ran a funky W-shaped route through the eucalyptus grove that came out to just a hair over a mile.  The first mile was warm up, then 3X1 mile at 5k pace or so, then an optional 5th lap, then 4X100’s.  I chose to run the 5th lap, but at more of a cool-down pace.



Woooootttt!!  This was 34 seconds faster than my mile time trial at the start of quarter.  It was so great to see that improvement.  But I ran this mile nearly as hard as I could, and I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep that pace up for the other laps.  I will confess to having been motivated to push it by not wanting to lag behind the leading pack of boys (not counting BT).  I managed to hang with them this first lap.




Then finished up with 4X100’s at 5:46, 5:11,  5:25,  5: 26 pace, with corners at 10:30-11:15 pace.

And now I am tiiiired.  Sore and sleepy.  It may be only 5.5 miles, but at a hard effort that’s more than enough to wear me out these days, when there’s a demanding schedule of  raspberry noises and tickles to give once I get home!



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A quick life status check

So about three hours ago, crusted with sweat from 5 miles of running this morning, I found myself in the basement of the med school, inhaling a breakfast burrito, strapped to a breast pump, having just run over for a shower after injecting a bunch of human chorionic gonadotropin hormone into some frogs.  And I thought “huh.  My life is kind of weird.”  And beautiful.


And more than a little silly.


Today’s run:

1.1 mile warm up (Chip trail: 9:05.  Too fast.  I haven’t worked out a “warm up” pace for my new and changing ability level.)

3 mile tempo (track to Lasuen Mall to Mayfield to Coronodo to Alvarado to Campus drive and back to the track):




1.25 mile cool down (GSB loop: track to Serra to Campus drive and back to track. 9:30 pace)

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10x 400’s and my legs may actually fall off

It should perhaps come as no surprise that returning to work full time after maternity leave put a serious crimp in both my running and my intended return to blogging. But I’ve joined BT’s class Fit to Run, which means I’m back on the track once a week, and I’d like to document it. So look for (hopefully, hopefully) more frequent, but shorter, posts.
-a couple weeks ago was 12X 200’s, which I ran at mostly 50-55 secs (vs 40-45 2 years ago).
-I have noticed my mile times coming down, out of the 9ish range and back more comfortably into the 8:30ish range. I had one very good (if short–2.7 miles) tempo run at a sustained 8:15-8:20 pace.
-today was 400s. Amazingly, I was able to run them very near to the pace I ran them two years ago, but that was certainly too fast, since for the last several I was taking longer and longer rests (supposed to be 60 second rests. Definitely more like 90….or even 120…by the last couple laps). And my times were pretty erratic–varied by 13 seconds (ie about 50 secs per mile). But damn does it feel good to be able to run like I used to, even for a couple laps!

10x 400’s:
1:42 (this is where I was like “oh. there’s no way I can keep this up”)

For an average of 1:44 over 10 laps, which corresponds to just under a 7 minute mile pace (two years ago I ran them at 1:42 average, although in fairness I also ran 16 of them, not 10). Given that my mile time trial was 7:59…this is too fast to train at,and I should probably have been at more like 1:55-2:00. But it was so satisfying to be able to run a bit this way.  We started with a mile warm up and followed with a mile cool down, so this comes to about 4.5 miles total.  I’ll be very gentle for the next few days to recover.

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Pacing reality check

After a year of letting it languish in the bottom of my backpack, today I resurrected my Garmin.  For today’s run I kept pace on both it and the MapMyRun app, which confirmed, sadly, what I already strongly suspected: MMR overestimates distance by about 5%.  That doesn’t sound too bad until you realize that 5% error at a 10:00 per mile pace equates to  30 seconds per mile–and there’s a big difference between 10:00 and 9:30 per mile!  So I had pretty inflated pacing times for a lot of my recent runs.

But even with more accurate stats, today’s run was good news!  Today I ran all the way out to the dam at the end of the Vasona reservoir (heh.  “All the way.” Like it’s far.  But it felt far!) and back: just a hair over four miles.

mile 1 Garmin 8:57; MMR 8:34 (sigh. if only…)

mile 2 Garmin 9:03; MMR 8:36

mile 3 Garmin 9:36; MMR 9:26 (you can tell here that MMR is also not very consistent in how much it errs).

mile 4 mixed pace: I jogged some at about 10:15, ran a couple fast pickups (100m-0.1 mile) at 6:45-7:00 pace, and walked in between.

Overall this came to 5k at 28:02 (Garmin time), plus some jogging and speed work at the end.  I would be entirely satisfied with 28 minutes at Jenny’s Light next Sunday.  It’s also very evident that at this stage of recovery/retraining, a little bit of speed work goes a long way: after just a couple sprints with AM a few days ago I found my resting pace had improved.

Otherwise this has been a good week for exercise: ran 2.78 mi around campus on Tuesday, and did our family walk route Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday.  I did AM’s micro-conditioning workout on Monday and Wednesday also, which is less than I intended: somehow I can’t shake feeling it’s something I need to really set aside time and dress for, and I totally don’t: I can do 60 jumping jacks and some pushups and crunches in jeans!


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The power of a good role model

Over the first week of the New Year, I was pretty undisciplined about getting in my walks and runs.  We were traveling for NYE, and then it took us a couple days to re-establish our routine once we were home, so I got in a run (2.3 mi) on the 29th, and a walk on the 30th and 4th, and that was it.

But this last week I’ve done much better, thanks in large part to my fabulous sister-in-law coming to visit.  AM is a mother of two little ones and an instructor for Stroller Strides, who recently completed her first half marathon.  It was incredibly motivating to have her here to run with and to talk about post-partum exercise with.  Especially since she looks like a damn Victoria’s Secret model–whatever she did after her babies, I want to do that!  I really admire her as a mom and athlete.  My daughter also adored her, she had lots of good suggestions for non-exercise things like sleep training, and her visit was the perfect pretext for a family trip to the beach and some local wine tasting, so it was good business all around.

But, to the point:

Sunday I did a quick run on my own: 2.5 mi.

Tues family walk 3.1 mi.

Thurs I ran 3.3 on my own, including the first mile at 8:44–it was nice to be able to run more than 5k.  This included about 2 miles of straight running with no stoplight breaks–a small victory but nice to know I could do it.  I am starting to sincerely enjoy running again.

Fri AM and I ran 3 miles at 10:06

Sat we ran 3.6–but I forgot to turn my timer off and lost track of pace.  Probably about 10:00-10:15.  However, since AM was doing this burpees countdown challenge, on both this run and Friday’s we stopped midway through for her burpees.  I tried…halfheartedly…to join.  Friday I think I managed 4! My God!  So not any upper body strength these days.  Saturday I did 10…but couldn’t pull off the full push-up, it was really more of a plank burpee.  But then we did a couple sprints as well (about 100m repeats I’d guess), and I have to say that even though I was so so easily winded and much slower than AM, it felt really good to run full out, if only for a moment.

Today we did about 2/3 of our family walk, and AM passed along this micro-workout for strength conditioning:

30 jumping jacks;

5 pushups

25 high knees

7 burpees

10 crunches (I did 25 bicycles)

7 squats

5 more pushups (I did 10 on-my-knees pushups instead.  So embarrassing)

10 more crunches (I did 25 bicycles)

5 more pushups (10 on my knees)

7 more squats

30 more jumping jacks (have I mentioned the bouncing?  I keep laughing at myself because I have literally never needed a sports bra before and now I finally understand what the rest of my gender has been complaining about).

1 minute wall sit (this also was absurdly hard)

5 more pushups (2 real..then 3 on my knees)

25 high knees.

The whole set took me just 8 minutes.  I REALLY like having this because it takes so little time and I can do it in my living room whenever I have a short break.  The large number of short exercise sets also makes it very non-intimidating.  I’ve been having a hard time starting on strength work because 100 crunches, or even 10 inchworms, seems like a lot.  This is just little bites of exercise.  It feels easy to at least be able to do some of it.  I hope to be able to stick with it at least some of this every day, and build toward more.  I can already tell I’m going to be sore tomorrow, and part of me feels annoyed with myself that I can be tapped by so little when I used to be able to do so much more.  Still, just as with running, with strength work I have to start somewhere, and I’m happy to have started.

19.4 miles for the week (14.4 running and 5 walking)


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A new year, a new life, a new body, a new race!

I hope everyone is having a great holiday season!

I officially signed up for my first post-pregnancy race: the Jenny’s Light 5k in Los Gatos on January 26th.  Jenny’s Light is a foundation that provides resources and support for post-partum mood disorders.  It seemed like the perfect cause for my first race after my daughter was born.  I have been so very lucky to have my husband with me for these first weeks, to have him be so loving and supportive and good with her, to have my daughter be so beautifully healthy and growing so well, to be able to take this time off of work, to have a supportive boss, to have a great mother-in-law who I love come to help us out at first, to have access to great medical care…and it’s very easy to imagine that without all those things (especially my husband and my daughter’s good health) I would have been really vulnerable to depression.  The emotions after birth are so viscerally irrationally intense, and it’s easy to see how it could have been a bad trip instead of such a great one.  So we’re going to do this 5k as a family, in support of any/all the new moms who haven’t been as lucky as I have.

I am keeping my goals very conservative: enjoy the day, don’t get hurt, and shoot for 30 minutes but be disappointed by nothing.  (And because I’m now used to judge-y mom forums, let me just say that no, I don’t plan to jog with my 3-month-old.  She will stay with Daddy as he walks with her in her usual stroller.  I will jog alone, and then come join them when I’m done).

I’ve been continuing to do my short runs around town: 5k yesterday at 10:10 pace; 2.3 miles on Christmas Eve at 9:35.  Otherwise we’ve been continuing with family 3 mile walks about every other day.  I plan to keep it going! Run about 3 times a week and walk the rest.  I haven’t been doing much stretching, which I need to, and eventually I’ll add back in core work once my abs have re-knit a bit more.

A lot of the rhythm of running is coming back to me, but in some ways the familiar parts of running highlight the new differences.  My ankles have been really stiff, and my hips feel awkward, to say nothing of unaccustomed bouncing in the chest!  It has made me realize that a few extra pounds are hardly all that’s changed, and I need to be patient learning how this new body works and what it can do.


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Never thought 2 miles could feel so far

3.3 miles walking yesterday, 2.3 miles running today.

8:59 first mile

10:50 second mile

9:16 last 0.3


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